Multilingual films increase vital income streams for Film Productions

Capturing the meaning in Context using Subtitles

Subtitles can boost income opportunities. Social media platforms alone are accessed by over 3 billion people across the globe, and by going multilingual, content creators can reach global audiences.


Subtitles should never be an after-thought and should be considered right at the start of the production phase.


For a film or TV documentary to be successful internationally, high quality subtitles are a worthwhile investment.  Those who have a say in production budgets, whether it be the studio, director, or producers, need to be made aware of how significant subtitling is in a global market, and that it can add substantial value to the final product.


Subtitling is a vital linguistic, creative, and technical skill that can provide lucrative opportunities for film and television businesses.


As part of our series of SubtitleNEXT blogs on the topic, we interviewed leading experts in subtitling within the film industry and from major universities across Europe to share their insights into why subtitling needs to be considered at the start of production.


This week, we hear from independent writer and AV translator Dorthe Pedersen.  She declares that subtitling is a diverse job. She explains how on one day she might be translating a comedy, which entails creativity with language and puns, and then on another day, she might be working on a documentary about the Russian revolution for example, which requires much more research and accuracy.


Regardless of the content, she regards subtitling as an incredibly intuitive job.


“You need to have good interpretation skills and be able to make a translation that fits in context. You also have to be able to time subtitles and make them readable. I think the use of locked templates, which is sadly a quite common phenomenon these days, puts little trust in the subtitler’s capability and lowers the overall quality of subtitles. Locked templates make for strange division, forcing you to leave in unnecessary things, and omit more important information due to space limitation.”


Dorthe goes on to say that in fiction, the best subtitles are the ones where the translator manages to capture exactly what is being said, without saying exactly what is being said.


“A good example of this is the use of girl/bro in American colloquial language.” She explains, “In my language people don’t go around calling each other” girl” or “bro”. It’s also not used to express surprise, disbelief, anger, or amazement as it can in Americanised English. Here the subtitler really has to read the person saying it and convey the meaning into the target language. In this situation the subtitler is making an important interpretation on the behalf of the audience. A good subtitler or dubbing translator can make this difficult task look effortless.”


Dorthe feels that sadly, subtitling often seems like an afterthought. More and more companies are looking for cost-efficient ways to delivery localization. She notes, “When millions are being spent on creating a movie or show in the first place, why are subtitles only seen as a necessary evil that have to be as cheap as possible? In the end, subtitles can determine the level of success for a show or film. An example comes to mind of the Oscar winning film “Parasite”, where the subtitles were praised and seen as an important factor in taking home the statue.”


Find further information about Dorthe Pederson here

For more information about subtitling software platform SubtitleNEXT, please visit